$45 million solar farm project in the west of Peterborough will transform nearly 140 acres of farmland and produce alternative energy for about 1500 homes every year. The solar farm will be constructed within a month on the Lili Lake Rd.

“We will be the first municipally owned utility to build a solar farm in Ontario,” Peterborough Utilities president and CEO Larry Doran said.

“One of our mandates is to build profitable renewable generation. That’s what we are doing. It will be renewable. It will cut down on greenhouse gases. It will return a profit that will eventually be paid to the city.”

The 10 MW facility will be built directly north of the Dobbin transformer station in the area of Lily Lake and Ackison roads, near the west end of Jackson Park.

PUI purchased about 250 acres of private farmland that had already received approval, licensing and zoning for the project, Doran said.

The solar panels will take up about 140 acres, which is about six times the size of Morrow Park.

“The project will cost when fully completed somewhere between $40 million and $45 million,” Doran said.

“We believe it to be quite profitable at the current prices paid for solar.”

PUI has contracted with EPOD Solar Inc. of Kelowna, B.C., which is in the midst of undergoing a merger with ICP Solar Technologies Inc., to build the solar facility. It will employ the latest in thin-film photovoltaic solar technology.

Mayor Paul Ayotte said the project is win-win for the city.

“I think it’s a great project for the community and the whole region. It will certainly benefit our community because we are selling green energy back into the grid,” he said.

Revenue from the profitable technology will also flow into city coffers, he added

“That’s why we are getting into it,” he said. “Certainly that’s advantageous to us.”

Engineers will be on the site next week doing preliminar

y work and construction of the field of solar panels will begin within a month, Doran said.

The initial phase of the project should be fully in-service before the end of the year, he added.

The solar farm will complement PUI’s other renew-a ble energy facilities, Doran said, such as the hydroelectric generating station on the Otonabee River and its planned methane plant.

“We actively pursue renewable generation sites,” Doran said.

PUI’s project won’t be the first solar farm in Ontario. Sarnia and Arnprior, near Ottawa, both boast 20 MW solar farms, both owned by private corporations.

8 thoughts on “$45 million solar farm project in Peterborough

  1. how do the people who live close to this farm feel about having to look at it everyday?

  2. I think these people must have some benefits of such projects like lower electricity rates, etc. This will compensate an inconvenience.
    However solar farms is better anyway then nuclear power stations 🙂

  3. Yep, better than nuclear power stations and definitely better than no power at all

  4. Just drove past the project. Looks amazing. Progress! Glad to see such a big investment in something other than the standard approach. If you don’t like it look the other way. Not many homes that close anyway.

  5. The solar farm is being built for the PUC by Solar Ventures. Solar Ventures is the second company to work on the contract, as the first company to do so continuously failed to meet the required quota.

    Solar Ventures rents warehouse space at EG Gray on Fisher Dr. and has no local employees, but contracts the Staffing Connection to provide its labour force. The workers from the Staffing Connection have been given a promise of a raise if they meet certain quotas.

    When the quotas had been met, the President of Solar Ventures, Felipe, was conveniently away, and therefore did not approve the paperwork for the raises. Nevertheless, he continued to advise supervisor to let the staff who had been promised the raise that they would not only still get it, but that it would be retroactively paid to them from about the third last week of December.

    Around last Friday (Jan 28), the supervisor was informed that not only was the raise NOT happening (and therefore the workers had been giving extra hours away from their families under false pretenses, being the victims of Felipe’s fraud), but the heating system on the manufacturing floor, of which the bay doors are constantly opening and closing to send trailers of finished panels to the Lily Lake Road solar farm site, was not working, thus the workers were working in the cold.

    Many of the workers walked off the job that day, though a few decided to remain, opting to draw up a list of grievances (primarily those named above) and seek redress for the failed promises and false pretenses.

    Steve Daynes, The Staffing Connection General Manager (email: steve@thestaffingconnection.ca) came to the site, having heard that men were walking off the job. He sought out the employee who was writing the list and when he had found him, fired him on the spot.

    There have been a number of accidents at the site, including one where a section of panel, weighing in excess of five hundred pounds, was dropped from the crane onto a worker because of inadequate rigging and a lack of safety straps. Panels had fallen before this, but before then had never hurt anyone.

    Solar Ventures does NOT deserve this contract, and moreover, should not be in business. Neither should the Staffing Connection. They are both run by criminals.

  6. Why is there not any information available regarding payback figures for this project, how much money will flow back to peterborough, where is the money coming from for the project (how is it being funded) Will this cost taxpayers etc. What is the anticipated payoff point?
    The way I see it at the moment, do not see any cheaper energy costs.
    If this project is for the benifit of people in Peterborough I would think that financial information would be readily available to all.
    Is March 2011 still the expected date to start producing power?

  7. WHAT PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO LOOK AFTER A GRASS FIRE or lightning strike IN THE FACITILY? THIS AREA IS SERVED BY A VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPTARTMENT. HAVE THEY BEEN TRAINED? IS THERE A RETENTION POND FOR WATER? IS THERE ANY ON SITE EQUIPMENT THERE?
    IF THERE WERE A FIRE WHAT CHEMICALS WOULD BE RELEASED INTO THE AIR AND GROUND WATER? ANY ANSWERS?

  8. April 28 2011

    I read the comments here and had to wonder. Where are We? I hear concern, but really is there no: JOB WELL DONE! The only way to change the future is to act today. I see The PUC, City of Peterborough and associated agencies acting towards a future. I know this future will bring change, growth and yes, problems as well. I am a gas using, hydro consuming average person who would like to believe any green change is progress. Peterborough gets bigger by the season, and so does our reliance on fossil fuels. I wish to thank everyone involved, locally and otherwise from my family today and for all of our families tomorrow.
    Brad

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